Did you know that anti-bacterial soap could be bad for you? The FDA has just banned the sale of soaps containing certain antibacterial chemicals. They stated that there is no evidence to suggest that antibacterial soaps are safe for long term use, or that they are even as effective as traditional soap in killing bacteria and preventing disease. Click here to read the FDA’s full report.
Antibacterial soap made its debut in the late ’70s, but the antibacterial properties weren’t really pushed heavily until the late ’80s. It was sold as a healthcare miracle. Many ads touting the benefits of antibacterial soap were aimed at parents. They even cited pediatrician recommendations. This tactic wasn’t without merit at the time because pediatricians were recommending and using these new soaps. Keep in mind is that soap does not need approval from the FDA to be sold. The FDA can, however, remove soaps or certain chemicals from the market if there is a lack of evidence to demonstrate their safety or effectiveness.
This is a case where it has become clear that there is no verifiable benefit to using these ingredients, while at the same time, there is some concern (though little in the way of conclusive proof) that these ingredients might actually be causing harm.
That said, it’s still important to wash regularly, especially during cold and flu season. UNICEF estimates that 2.3 million children die every year from diarrhea and pneumonia-related illnesses every year–deaths that in many cases could have been prevented by this simple habit. In fact, UNICEF has also said that hand washing is “more straight-forward and cost-effective than any single vaccine” in preventing illness.
More regular washing can instantly have an impact on your personal health. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in the general population regular hand washing reduces respiratory illnesses, such as colds, by 16 – 21%. It should also be noted that most of the illnesses that hand washing is meant to prevent come not from bacteria, but from viruses. Understanding that washing and hygeine are important, this has lead to a new golden age for handmade soap.
Handmade soap bubbles back to the surface
Before soaps became a mass-produced commodity, soap making was a common handicraft that used chemicals and materials commonly found in most homes and farms–primarily rendered beef fat called tallow. While some soap makers stick to the old methods, most handmade soaps today are saponified vegetable based oils. The main problem with this uptick in the production and popularity of handmade soaps is variation of quality, and even safety.
Yes, soap is soap. It’s sanitary function is fairly uniform across the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean handmade soaps are all created equal. In terms of how soap works on your skin, there can be a world of difference between bars depending on a number of factors including ingredients, manufacturing methods, and even the climate you’re in.
At The Good Life Massage, we sell handmade soaps made with as many natural ingredients as possible. They contain no detergents, which can cause irritation. To learn more about our soaps and other handmade skin care products, visit our Products page. We also strongly recommend you like the This Side of Paradise Facebook page.
Tom Gunn is a freelance writer and is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. To hire Tom or to see more of his work, visit www.tgunnwriter.com.